Song Spotlight 1

Slow Down” by EMBRZ.

The first in a series that consists of what I hope is at least several songs.

EMBRZ, whose real name is Jack Casey, is a musician from Ireland. This is one of his earliest releases on Soundcloud (this is the Youtube link, in case you prefer that medium); he posted it about three years ago.

He sampled Paramore’s song, “All I Wanted,” the final track off their third studio album, Brand New Eyes. More specifically, he sampled a couple lines, not borrowing too heavily from the melody of the original song as a whole. “Think of me,” and, “Remember to slow down,” including some echoes and fills of Hayley Williams’ singing, are the eyes of this dreamy tune. It’s said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, right? While I don’t much believe in that, I am also a firm believer in the fragility of absolutes. With that in mind, this metaphor is particularly applicable here.

There is a solid amount of evidence that points to the importance of the human face (and, by extension, the eyes): the number of muscles in our face to depict subtle changes in emotion, our own somatotopic brain organization (basically, in terms of how much of our brain is allocated to analyzing sensory information from different parts of our body, our faces and hands use up a lot of brain bandwidth), the amount of brain dedicated to our vision alone, the sensitivity of our facial skin (acne sucks), etc etc etc. (That’s me running out of good, concrete reasons.)

Anyway, all I’m really trying to say here is that the eyes are pretty significant for many large animal species, and EMBRZ made a pair with some of the nicest irises you’ll ever see. And the lyrics he chose to single out very well could have been disastrous. However, he went with some established writers in some band some people have heard of, and, in combination with his very soothing production, he basically took a second and turned it into a minute. I know, it doesn’t sound like a lot, but making sixty more of something out of one is harder than you think. (One of the better known cases of this kind of multiplicative work was done by a guy you may know as Jesus.) I would say he had a pretty complete reimagination of the original song, but I don’t think that’s completely accurate because that’s implying that he took the whole song and gave it a new house. Rather, what he did was that he took a room in that house and gave it a vast makeover, on a scale that would make HGTV envious. And now he lives in that room. And that room is probably where he produced, “Slow Down.”

The environment he gave to these forcibly orphaned lyrics is inviting and warming (this idea will come back later) and sentimental but in the best way. It’s upbeat poignant, which can likely be contracted into a more succinct word that I would like to know but don’t. It sounds like how I feel when I wake up in the morning and I can already see that the sky is blue and clear and the warmth of the sun has begun to fill my room. It sounds like how I feel when I’m driving on a warm day, in no real rush to get anywhere. It sounds like how I feel when I’m with my family or friends and we’re all laughing and I remember Andy Bernard, of The Office fame, who remarked, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ol’ days before you’ve actually left them.”

He took very spartan, very innocuous sentiments and encourages the listener to understand that they are more than the sum of their words.

Thanks for the tune, EMBRZ.

Oh, and that Andy Bernard quote. For those who care to know, I don’t know that it changed my life, but it certainly gave a principle of mine a more concrete, referable form. I live by it, and I would be remiss not to say my experiences have been more enriching because of it.

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